Ceremony - St. Andrew's Hoppers Crossing
Reception - L' Unica, East Brunswick
Videography by Motion Diaries
There are so many things I would like to say about this wedding. About how it was such a blessing as it allowed us to shoot a wedding in one of my favourite and loved cities in the world, and at the same time extend our stay so we can go visit family I haven't seen in two years. About how excited I was to get to go back after 8 years of not having visited the place I almost made my home. About how thrilled I was to finally get to take Puy and Lia to the beautiful, familiar places that made me love the land down under. But then again, this is not about me, this is about Mark and Ember, about their wedding that was nothing short of a beautiful celebration of their tender love for each other and the immeasurable love of family.
Although they had booked us about a year ahead from their wedding day (through our common friend, Apple. Thanks, Apple! 😘), we first met Mark and Ember on the day of their engagement shoot. They picked us up at my sister's house then we headed to the Alfred Nicholas Gardens at the Dandenong Ranges. It was a weekday so we had the gardens pretty much to ourselves. That day, we got to know them more because we got to chat with them a lot during the shoot. To be honest, we didn't have a hard time taking photos of them despite them warning us that they were not a very touchy-showy couple. We actually got more challenged by the hike we had to take around the gardens to find just the right spots to shoot them. Tee hee.
There was a bit of rain between the day we shot their engagement photos and their wedding day. So it was really a blessing how sunny it was the morning of 24 October 2015: Mark and Ember's big day. Ember and her girls were preparing at what was to be her new home with Mark, while Mark and his crew were next door at his Aunt's house. The atmosphere was very relaxed, with the girls doing each other's hair in their matching kimono-inspired robes, every now and then joking around in the bridal suite upstairs. Downstairs, one of Ember's friends was doing the finishing touches on her bouquet. Next door, Mark and his boys were doing pretty much what grooms and groomsmen do while waiting for the girls to get done: chill, play billiards and have a few drinks.
I was left with the girls at the bridal suite while Puy headed over next door to check on Mark. Ember's two Moms (lucky her, right? Most of us only have one!) then arrived to greet the lovely bride. One of my favourite bridal moments of that day has to be when one of her moms leaned down towards her and started whispering something in her ear, in the middle of which Ember started tearing up. After a few minutes, all three of them squeezed each other in a tight hug. Really, those moments were too precious for words.
When it was time for Ember to dress up, Puy took the reins at the bridal suite and I got called next door to shoot a few snaps of Mark's family. It was such a pleasure taking photos of everyone who flew from all over to celebrate this special day.
After all family photos were done, I hopped onto the coaster with the groom and his groomsmen. I had a feeling these guys go waaaaay back. How did I know that? Because as they were getting in the coaster, one of them said with a chuckle, "when was the last time we rode one of these? when we were 12???," probably talking about those times when they took road trips or vacations with each other's families. During the ride, I looked at Mark every once in a while and, even in the midst of friendly banter with his boys, he was a picture of quiet anticipation of what was to unfold that day.
When we got to the church, a few of the guests were already there. I saw a lot of familiar faces, friends - who felt more like family - that I haven't seen in a long time. I went around as I try to recall how to shoot a wedding ceremony again after being on hiatus for quite sometime. It was only when Puy arrived that my nerves started to calm down, I guess it was also because he told me that Mark greeted him cheekily with "Puy, you want to take my photo? You can go ahead and take my photo." which was a 180 degree turn from how reserved he was during the engagement shoot. LOL!
When it was almost time to start, I took my place outside the church doors as I wait for the bride to alight from the bridal car. When she stepped out, she was a sight to behold. I can just imagine what Mark must have felt as he watched his beautiful bride march down the aisle. Tears were shed as Ember made that walk to her groom, but even more tears came as everyone listened to their vows. Their vows weren't the gooey-sweety kind, but they were filled with words that expressed a love that was deep, real, and honest. I have to say Mark did a great job despite having started on it only a few days back, in the car, as Ember drove us to their engagement shoot venue. *two thumbs up*
At the reception, everyone was all set to party. The ballroom and the huge dance floor was very fitting for their beautifully choreographed first dance. The speeches from important people in their lives shared even more of how they both love and are loved by their families. One of the special people in Mark's life had to miss the party, though - his Lolo. It was heartbreaking when Mark's Mom, at the beginning of her speech, shared to everyone that Mark's Lolo had passed on while the reception was going on. It was admirable how she was a picture of strength, grace and composure after what just happened, and still got to finish her speech for Mark and Ember.
Mark and Ember went through a roller coaster of emotions on their wedding day, sharing both joy and pain. I'm confident that nothing can faze these two as long as they get to walk through life hand-in-hand.
Happy anniversary, Mark and Ember! Cheers to love and all the happiness it brings! Thank you for trusting us to chronicle your special day and allowing us to be blessed by everything we witnessed that day.